Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Sherriff Family, Part 1

Our story begins in the year 1761 when, on the 12th of December, Thomas Sherriff married Marion Cowie at Bothkennar and the couple subsequently had 4 sons and three daughters:

(The year 1761 also an important year for the Muir Family, see: ‘Larbert to the Carribean’, (20th September 2011)

Christian – born 1762 (Christened at Bothkennar 19th December 1762)
Marion – born 1765 (Christened at Larbert 26th May 1765)
George,  born 1768 (Christened at Larbert 8th May 1768, died 1843)
William, born 1776, Christened at Larbert 22nd December 1776)
Thomas born 1778, (Christened at Larbert 3rd December 1778)
Alexander , born 1780 (Christened at Larbert 1st September 1780)
Mary – (no verifying information found)

George Sherriff the eldest son of Thomas & Marion was a notable engineer. He served his apprenticeship in the famous firm of Boulton & Watt, of Birmingham (Watt being the celebrated  James Watt). He was recommended by them for the post of manager of the Imperial Engineering Works in St. Petersburg, and while in the service of the Russian Government he received numerous tokens of appreciation of his work, which extended through the reigns of the Tsars Nicholas and Alexander. He was decorated by one, received a gold snuff box from the other and later, on leaving the firm of Boulton & Watt, he was given a handsome desk from James Watt.

George was also the founder of Dalderse Iron Foundry and builder of Abbotshaugh house. He spent much of his working life in St. Petersburg, Russia and is reported as having died there on 10th December 1843 aged 75 although no verification of this can be found.

He married his first wife, Sarah Roper of Kirkcaldy c1792 who died shortly after the birth (c1795) of their first and only child, daughter Sarah Roper Sherriff and was presumably buried in Russia.

Daughter Sarah Roper Sherriff died of Peritonitis at Pollokshields, Glasgow on July 13th 1855 aged 59. Her Death Registration lists her as having lived in Pollokshields for 2 months, previously in Russia, but she is known to have been in Scotland in 1851 at the time of the 1851 Census. She was buried in the Southern Necropolis, Glasgow.

On the 17th January 1808 at Falkirk, George married Margaret Bell, born 19th July 1784, daughter of John Bell and Marion Cuthill of Camelon, Falkirk.

Margaret Bell’s siblings:
John born 1786, Christopher born 1788, Thomas Allan born 1797 died 2nd June 1870, Christopher born 1799 died 4th July 1861, Archibald born 1782, Margaret born 1784, James born 1789, James born 1791, Marion born 1793 and Ann born 1794 died 22nd August 1859.

(The dates of death for Ann, Christopher and Thomas Allan Sherriff were taken from the Monumental Inscription)

George and Margaret Sherriff nee Bell’s children:
Marion – born 1808* (Christened at Falkirk 21st December 1808, died 26th December 1883 age 76)
Margaret – born 1810 (Christened at Falkirk 18th April 1810, died 1st May 1887)
Thomas – born 1811 (Christened at Falkirk 27th October 1811)
Ann – born 22nd March 1813 (Christened at Falkirk 3rd April 1813, died 1st May 1887 age 74)
George William – born 1819 (Christened at Falkirk 26th February 1819, died July/August 1835 in Russia)
John Bell Sherriff – born 1821 (Christened at Falkirk 18th November 1821)
Alexander Sherriff, born 1826 died 1826 in Russia)

The above births are all listed on the International Genealogical Index (Family Search).

The deaths/burials of George William, Alexander and their mother Margaret are recorded in he ‘Records of the Congregational Church, St. Petersburg, Russia.

In memory of MARION born 13th December 1807 died 26th December 1883
Eldest daughter of GEORGE SHERRIFF, St. Petersburg
Also of her sister ANN born 22nd March 1813 died 1st May 1887
Youngest daughter of GEORGE SHERRIFF, St. Petersburg

*Note that the Monumental Inscription lists Marion’s date of birth as 13th December 1807)

The Inscription on the cross above the gravestone of Marion and Ann Sherriff reads: Erected by John Bell Sherriff, Carronvale, 1st January 1881 which indicates that although the first burial was his aunt, Ann Bell in 1859, this stone was not erected until 22 years later.

The inclusion of the ‘Bells’ on this stone not only verifies their relationship with the Sherriff Family,
but also their ‘half-ownership’ of the lair.

The above ‘Oval Plot’ sits in the centre of the ‘New Burial Ground’ in Larbert Old Parish Churchyard.
It was purchased by John Bell Sherriff of Carronvale and Christopher Bell (his uncle) of Abbotshaugh
on 9th October 1857. The total amount paid for the ground was £4
(equal to the cost of 10 Lairs @ 8/- each). John and Christopher each paying £2.
The dimensions of the lair measure 21 feet in length x approximately 12 feet in breadth.


To the memory of CHRISTOPHER BELL Esqr., who died at Abbot Haugh 4th July 1861 
Also his sister ANN BELL who died 22nd August 1859
And their brother THOMAS ALLAN BELL who died 2nd June 1870

The following information, in the form of a 'Time-Line' is the most straightforward way of tracking John Bell Sherriff, son of George Serriff & Margaret Bell.

1841 Scotland Census – Age 20, living at Abbotshaugh with members of the Bell Family
(siblings of his father’s first wife Margaret Bell, i.e. his uncles & aunt)

1851 Scotland Census– Age 29, living at Westercommon, Glasgow, Occupation: Wine & Spirit Merchant
Also living there was his half-sister Sarah Sherriff, age 56, a British Subject born Russia)

Marriage On 27th September 1854, at the Parish Church of Stepney
John Bell Sherriff, age 32, Merchant, residing in Glasgow, son of George Sherriff, Engineer
And Flora Taylor, age 20, residing in Stepney, daughter of Colin Taylor, Merchant

Son George born 24th March 1856 (later to marry Catherine Jane Nimmo).

Daughter Margaret Eugenie Flora born 30th March 1857 (later to marry William Kinross Gair).
The couple were to have no children.

Carronvale House was purchased in 1857 by John Bell Sherriff

1861 Scotland Census– Age 39, living at Carronvale House, Occupation: Merchant
Also living there were his wife  Flora, age 26, born in Killarow, Isle of Islay, Argyll and their 2 children, George age 5 and Margaret Eugenie Flora Sherriff age 4.

1871 England Census– Age 49, living in London, Occupation: Landowner
Also living there were his wife  Flora, age 26, born in Killarow, Isle of Islay, Argyll and daughter Margaret Eugenie Flora, age 14
(The whereabouts of son George age 15 – is unknown, he does not appear with the family)

John’s wife Flora Taylor died 11th August 1876 and is buried in Larbert Old Parish Churchyard.

In memory of FLORA wife of (John Bell) Sherriff, died at Carronvale 11th August 1876.

The above stone lying to the right of Flora’s stone has no visible inscription

1881 Scotland Census– Age 59, living at Carronvale House, Occupation: Distiller
(Also living there was son George age 25
and sister-in-law Margaret Taylor  age 41, born Kilmeny, Isle of Islay, Argyll)

1891 Scotland Census– Age 69, living at Beechmount, Occupation: Distiller

In memory of MARGARET EUGENIE FLORA wife of William Kinross Gair
and only daughter of John Bell Sherriff
Born 30th March 1857, died at Stenhouse 30th June 1895
 In memory of JOHN BELL SHERRIFF died at Carronvale 25th November 1896 aged 75 years.

According to the publication ‘The Lands & Lairds of Larbert & Dunipace Parishes’ John Bell Sherriff died at Carronvale on Tuesday 10 November 1896 aged 73 and was buried in the Family Burial Ground at Larbert on Friday 13th November 1896 - the M.I. lists his date of death as 25th November.

Continued in 'The Sherriff Family, Part 2'


  1. It's here: http://memento-mori-scotland.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/sherriff-family-part-2.html